Georgia is one of forty-four states that permits the shackling of incarcerated women during the birthing and laboring processes. Over the last few years, several states (IL, VT, CA, TX, NY and NM) have determined that this practice is not only unnecessary, but also cruel and inhumane and have prohibited it through statute. In 2008, the Federal Bureau of Prisons prohibited the practice in federal prisons after considerable lobbying from a broad range of prison advocacy, medical professional associations and civil liberties and women’s rights groups. More recently, the 8th District Court of Appeals held that “the U.S. Constitution protects pregnant women in prison from the unnecessary and unsafe practice of shackling during labor and childbirth.”
In addition, the practice of shackling incarcerated women during labor, delivery and recovery violates international human rights standards and norms.
Clearly, the time to end this practice in Georgia is upon us. How many more women will labor in pain, silence, obscurity and shame? It is indeed a cruel, inhumane and unsafe to force women to endure the laboring and birthing process with chains on their wrists and ankles.
Please sign the petition calling for an end to this heinous and unsafe practice.